A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) go team is en route to the site of a fatal train accident that occurred last night north of New York City. NTSB rail investigator Michael Hiller is leading the team as investigator-in-charge. The train's event recorder is expected to help provide information about the circumstances surrounding the crash.
According to news sources, seven people were killed near Valhalla when a Metro-North commuter train struck a Jeep Cherokee that was on the tracks. Most of the fatalities were train passengers; the driver of the Jeep was also killed. At least a dozen people were injured.
A painful reminder
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference that the incident was “a painful reminder to all of us how precious life is, and sometimes how random it can be.”
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the Jeep was stopped on the tracks when a railroad crossing gate came down on top of it. The driver got out, looked at the rear of the vehicle, then got back into her vehicle and drove forward, when she was struck by the train.
Breaking glass doors
The Jeep was pushed 400 feet down the track. The collision caused an explosion and fireball that engulfed the front of the train and panicked the passengers, some of whom broke jammed glass doors to escape the train. There were approximately 800 passengers at the time of the collision.
A nearby gym opened its doors to evacuated passengers and offered them refreshments and first aid until emergency crews arrived on the scene.